HC issues notice to Parrikar's son for violation of forest norms in Netravali
13th February 2019, 03:44 Hrs
The petition alleges that the ordinance to the Goa Town and Country Planning Act, 1974 was promulgated by the Laxmikant Parsekar-led government and later passed as a law only to help Abhijat secure quick clearances for his project
The Bombay High Court at Goa has issued notices to Abhijat Parrikar, son of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for alleged violations of forest norms and stripping an eco-sensitive zone of its green cover for construction of his eco-tourism project located near the Netravali wildlife sanctuary in South Goa.
After hearing Adv Carlos Ferreira who argued for admission of the petition, the Court directed to “issue notice to the respondents, returnable on 11th March 2019.”
On the other hand, Adv Deep Shirodkar who appeared on behalf of the state government agencies questioned the maintainability of the petition “on the grounds of delay” as well as the “status of the petitioners” considering that there are several FIRs pending against Abhijit Dessai, the petitioner, who is the Deputy Sarpanch of Netorlim village where the project is being set up.
However, Adv Ferreira defended the delay stating that despite the fact that most of the permissions being challenged were granted in 2015, actual work on the site began in late 2018 which prompted this petition.
Dessai has already claimed that the FIRs against him were filed because he has been questioning the legality of Parrikar’s son’s project.
“Since objections are raised as regards the status of the petitioners as well as on the grounds of delay, such objections are kept open for consideration once the affidavits are filed in the matter,” the HC ruled.
The petition alleges that the permission granted by the ESZ monitoring committee which gave a go-ahead to the project did so despite a notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests which said that no permissions can be granted until each state draws up an eco-sensitive management plan for each zone and the plan is approved by the MoEF.
In the absence of an ESZ management plan, the monitoring committee would have to conduct a site inspection before passing the permission.
“There are no approved master plans for Goa’s ESZs and no site inspection was conducted,” he argued in his petition.
The petition also alleges that the ordinance to the Goa Town and Country Planning Act, 1974 was promulgated by the Laxmikant Parsekar-led government and later passed as a law only to help Abhijat secure quick clearances for his project.
The government inserted a new section 42A in the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974 as follows: “An Applicant who desires to set up any EcoTourism activity, in Eco Sensitive Zones declared under the Environment Protection Act. 1986 shall not be required to obtain any conversion of land, or any change of zoning or change of land use either under this Act or any other maps or plans finalised there under, or Regulations or the Goa Land Revenue Code, 1968: Provided that such project or EcoTourism Activity can be set up to an extent of 5% of the total area and that the minimum area required is not less than 20,000 sq meters.”
“It is clear to the naked eye that it was intended to help this project specifically,” the petition reads.
The matter will be heard on March 11.